COMMENTARY | The NBA's Internet rumor mill has been churning at full strength as the February 20 trade deadline fast approaches.
One hotly circulated piece of gossip has the New York Knicks sending shooting guard Iman Shumpert to the Denver Nuggets for power forward Kenneth Faried. Chalk this up as a fantasy for Knicks fans, because from the Nuggets' perspective it simply doesn't make sense.
Let's begin with a simple truth about Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert: Both of these players having glaring flaws. In the case of Shumpert, he's a shooting guard who struggles to shoot (a career 39% from the field). Iman is often praised for his defensive effort, but the Nuggets are a team that lacks quality perimeter scoring.
Ty Lawson can get his own shot and Wilson Chandler has nights where he'll fill up the stat sheet, but with Danilo Gallinari out Denver is missing a guy who can reliably give them close to 20 points a night. If The Nuggets had a great scoring wing, it might make more sense to add a defensive specialist to the backcourt. Given the current composition of the roster, they don't have that luxury.
As for Kenneth Faried, he excels at providing energy and rebounding, but his instinct is always to give up defensive pressure in exchange for positioning himself for a board. There's been much grumbling among the Nuggets' faithful that Kenneth, popular though he is, simply gives up too much defensively to opposing big men.
But putting those shortcomings aside, if you give Faried starter minutes, he's going to give you a double-double almost every single night (this season he's averaging around 10 points and 8 rebounds per contest in a modest 25 minutes per game). Guys like that don't exactly grow on trees.
Furthermore, Nuggets beat writer Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post has rightly pointed out that if Faried manages to develop a mid-range jumper, he could become a completely different player.
It's also worth noting that in Kenneth's two and a half years in Denver, he has established himself as a high character player with infectious intensity and a willingness to be coached (an increasingly rare quality in the NBA).
Shumpert and Faried are essentially the same age, and neither player has reached their full potential. But based upon their NBA careers to date, Faried appears to have the higher ceiling. Even if the Nuggets decide they don't want to give him a major contract, it's hard to believe he can't yield something better in trade than Iman Shumpert.
Besides, there's another reason why the Knicks are a poor trade partner for the Nuggets right now. Denver owns the right to swap its own pick with the Knicks' picks in the much-heralded 2014 NBA draft. What incentive do the Nuggets have to make New York better for the rest of this season?
Doug Brockwell grew up in Denver and has been following the Nuggets religiously since the Doug Moe era. He regards the Carmelo Anthony trade as one of the greatest GM feats in NBA history.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kenneth Faried
- Iman Shumpert